LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Gary Shelton is leery about unpacking his belongings. He is worried that bed bugs will come back, and he will have to get his Long Beach apartment exterminated again.

In December, he found the nasty critters in his bedroom and bathroom. Exterminators were called three times. In march, he was finally given the all clear.

“I felt like it wasn’t the end, and that’s why I stayed with everything still put away,” Shelton said.

He lives on the ninth floor of the 11-story Plymouth West apartment complex on Chestnut Avenue.

The 68-year-old is among nearly 90 tenants who have been dealing with a bed bug infestation since the beginning of the year.

Kent Davis is the president of the company, LOMCO, which manages Plymouth West and other buildings throughout Southern California. He said bed bugs in his Long Beach units are a big problem.

“It’s either staying the same or getting slightly worse,” Davis said.

Exterminators agreed. Within the last few months, their calls for service in Long Beach were up.

But according to the Long Beach Department of Environmental Health, bed bug reports were down.

A spokesman said the best treatment is to hire a professional to eradicate the dreaded blood-sucking pests.

Davis said his company has spent $400,000 on exterminations so far this year. “It’s a simple issue but requires a complicated solution,” he said.

Shelton said the bed bugs have put him through physical and mental trauma and hoped they were finally gone forever.

“There’s some embarrassment involved. There’s fear because you know what the process of treating them is,” he said.

According to Round the Clock Pest Control, the Los Angeles area ranks second in the country when it comes to being the worse area for bed bugs.

There is no quick fix for eradication, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which offered some tips on dealing with bed bugs.


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